When Baby Bro was telling me about the Lawrence Plaza Korean Food Court, he kept telling me it was right next to Paris Baguette, as if that meant anything to me. I figured it must be a popular place and decided to look into it the night before. It turns out, despite it's name, Paris Baguette is actually a popular Korean bakery chain. Some people said it was similar to 85C, so I was excited to try it out.
We arrived in the early afternoon and the place was pretty packed. It did remind me a lot of 85C, except that Paris Baguette actually runs out of breads whereas 85C continues to bake them all day. A lot of the breads were already gone when I got there. I did pick up some pretty treats though. I'm not too familiar with Korean breads and pastries, so I just read the descriptions and grabbed ones I thought sounded good. I especially was interested in ones with sweet potato filling and green tea filling.
On one side of the bakery is all their fresh baked goods. On the other side are tables and chairs for those people dining in. They have a limited menu as well as coffee and tea drinks.
Once we were home, we were in a rush to try the breads, so there wasn't time to take good pictures. We sampled a sweet potato bread:
It was a lot of filling and not too much bread. I found it a bit too sweet, but it was soft and fresh.
Sweet potato pie:
The sweet potato filling didn't seem nearly as sweet. I really enjoyed this one. It is made with the yellow sweet potatoes you find at Korean and Japanese supermarkets.
Green pea pastry
The bright green color and the name is what caught my attention. The filling isn't green pea though- it's green tea. Perhaps it's named "green pea" because of the bright green.
I'm not positive, but I think this was a green pea bread:
I was intrigued by this bread. I saw a lot of people grabbing it so I did as well. The bread is more savory than sweet. It's hollow inside. The outside is a very chewy crust. It reminds me of the outside of a french baguette, except even chewier. The sesame seeds adds a nice taste. I really loved this bread but my mom didn't like it at all.
I liked how this one was shaped like a bracelet. I don't remember if I liked the taste.
Corn strewed bread:
There was no corn on this bread, but I think the name comes from the topping, which looks like corn kernels. This bread is very similar to the chinese pineapple bread (buo lo bao), with a sweet crunchy yellow top.
When I was little, every time there was a class party where we had to bring in food, my mom would fry up shrimp chips for me to bring to school. With the festive colors and crunchy texture, these chips were always a huge hit.
Nowadays, the only time I seem to eat shrimp chips is when they are served at Chinese restaurants. With Chinese New Year coming up, I’ve been trying to make some more chinese dishes lately. Shrimp chips are really easy to make. You can purchase them at your local chinese grocery store. They look something like this:
Though I would not recommend this brand. Despite the fact that it says “color,” there were very few color chips. About 95% of the bag were full of white chips. The uncooked chips looked like little pieces of plastic or glass:
In order to cook them, you simply put them into someone hot oil. I usually use a wok. You want enough oil that the chip will submerge in the oil, but you don’t need too much. The chips fry up quickly, puffing up to into unique shapes. They should puff up as soon as they hit the oil. If they don’t, your oil might not be hot enough or you might not have enough oil. As soon as they are finished puffing, you need to remove them or else they’ll burn. I recommend using chopsticks to take them out. For the first few, I used a spoon, and I found that method took longer and brought up a lot of oil. It’s pretty fun watching them puff up. Here is a video we took of a chip cooking:
The chips are crunchy and don’t have much of a shrimp flavor.
One of the food blogs I follow regularly is Serious Eats. One of their weekly columns is Weekend Cook and Tell, which challenges readers to take on a cooking project over the weekend. This weekend's challenge was to cook using superfoods. When I think of superfoods, the ones that pop in my mind immediately are matcha powder, blueberries, pomegranates, raspberries, blackberries, goji berries. I've baked quite a bit with some of these ingredients, especially matcha. But most of my recipes aren't very "healthy" since there is so much sugar and butter.
Reading the Weekend Challenge made me want to create a healthy recipe that incorporates some superfoods. I decided to try making green tea muffins with blueberries and pomegranates. Three doses of superfoods! Also, I wanted to make the muffins as healthy as possible. Muffins are supposed to be healthier than other baked goods and are often eaten for breakfast. While I love muffins, I feel that most muffins offered these days are basically the same as cakes, since the sugar content is so high. A lot of recipes even interchange the words "muffins" and "cupcakes."
Getting back to basics, I chose to find a muffin base that didn't have much sugar or butter. I probably could have made it even healthier by using wheat flour instead of regular flour, but it's something I haven't baked with before, so I didn't want to experiment with now. I found this green tea muffin batter that has almost no sugar and very little butter from Fresh from the Oven. I used this as my base, with some modifications. For instance, I upped the amount of green tea. And I added blueberries and pomegranate seeds.
I loved how my muffins came out. They were soft and moist. And while the batter wasn't sweet, I still liked it. It reminded me of biscuits, bread or corn muffins. And because the batter isn't sweet, the fruit came out really sweet. Usually when I bake with blueberries and pomegranates, they taste sour because of all the sugar in the dough.
I loved the colors too. The dark blue blueberries looked so pretty next to the pale green matcha batter. These muffins were so easy to whip up. And I felt like I was eating something fairly healthy. However, if you feel that you some sweetness in your muffins, feel free to up the sugar portion.
I fed these to Boyfriend with the warning that these were supposed to be healthy muffins and wouldn't be very sweet. He did not like them at all. So, it's not for everyone. He does however, love my green tea yogurt cakes, which I think are fairly healthy with the use of yogurt and green tea.
Green Tea Muffins with Blueberries and Pomegranates (Muffin based adapted from Fresh from the Oven)